The Histone Deacetylase and Genome Stability Lab

The Bhaskara Lab studies cancer epigenetics, DNA damage response, DNA repair, DNA replication, chromatin structure, hematopoietic development, hematological cancers, and cancer therapeutics.

Histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) target histones and other non-histone proteins with important roles in cell survival and cell cycle progression. Histone deacetylases are enzymes that remove acetylation from histones which leads to gene repression. Genes such as tumor suppressors can become aberrantly silenced during oncogenesis; therefore, HDAC inhibition can lead to their re-expression. Importantly, in addition to HDAC impact on gene regulation, our research program has been primarily focused on deciphering novel roles for HDACs in regulating DNA replication and repair—two processes important for genome stability that often go awry in cancer.

Several HDAC inhibitors are in clinical trials, and two of these are FDA approved for the treatment of T-cell lymphoma. Our current and future research goals are to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients by utilizing the fundamental knowledge gained to test the therapeutic benefits of inhibition of specific HDACs as a treatment for a subset of cancers including B-cell malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. The lab uses conditional knockout mouse models, patient-derived xenograft mouse models, and cutting-edge molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemical technologies to address cancer-focused questions and greatly advance the cancer therapeutics field forward.

Projects in the Lab

  • Project 1: To investigate the mechanism by which HDACs (specifically HDAC1, 2) control DNA damage response and DNA repair in normal and cancer cells
  • Project 2: Determine functions for HDACs (specifically HDAC1, 2) during DNA replication in normal and cancer cells
  • Project 3: Role for HDACs (specifically HDAC1, 2) in modulating chromatin structure to maintain genome stability in normal and cancer cells
  • Project 4: Determine functions for HDACs (specifically HDAC1, 2) in normal hematopoiesis and immune response
  • Project 5: Utilize the knowledge gained from Projects 1–4 to design better therapies for a subset of cancers (such as B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma)

News & Blog

Good 4 Utah Press Release - New cancer drug tested in mice may benefit certain Leukemia patients
Jul 13, 2017

Good 4 Utah Press Release - New cancer drug tested in mice may benefit certain Leukemia patients

Almost 6,000 new cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, are expected to be diagnosed this year in the United States. The blood cancer can affect both children and adults. Scientists have found up to 30 percent of adult ALL patients have what’s called a Philadelphia chromosome, where two segments of chromosomes have aberrantly fused together. (The fusion chromosome is much less common in children.) Adult ALL patients exposed to standard treatments often see high relapse rates, and treatment-related deaths remain high. But researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have discovered new science, published this week in the journal Leukemia, that could provide better therapeutic options for patients.... Read More

New cancer drug may be game changer for some leukemia patients
Jul 10, 2017

New cancer drug may be game changer for some leukemia patients

Six-thousand people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia this year. Thirty percent of adult patients have a Philadelphia chromosome, where two segments of chromosomes have fused together. Essentially, it makes the cancer more resistant to drugs. Scientists worked to overcome the negative effects of the Philadelphia chromosome by testing a new cancer drug on mice. ... Read More

New Cancer Drug Tested In Mice May Benefit Certain Leukemia Patients
Jun 09, 2017

New Cancer Drug Tested In Mice May Benefit Certain Leukemia Patients

SALT LAKE CITY –Almost 6,000 new cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, are expected to be diagnosed this year in the United States. The blood cancer can affect both children and adults. Scientists have found up to 30 percent of adult ALL patients have what’s called a Philadelphia chromosome, where two segments of chromosomes have aberrantly fused together. (The fusion chromosome is much less common in children.) Adult ALL patients exposed to standard treatments often see high relapse rates, and treatment-related deaths remain high. But researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have discovered new science, published this week in the journal Leukemia, that could provide better therapeutic options for patients.... Read More

Principal Investigator

Srividya Bhaskara, PhD
Principal Investigator
Email

Cancer Center Bio